The pupils: 3. graders, 9 years old

Theme: parts of speech, verbs

Aim: To find the subjects from verbs

Task 1: Sort these words in three groups and explain why you made these groups.

There were 8 verbs on the board. They were all in singular form. The pupils didn’t know what we were aiming at. They had to do a lot of thinking. There were only 8 pupils present so they were doing the work together. All the ideas of groups were excepted if they could explain why they had formed the group.

They arranged the words into following groups, which were named by the pupils

  1. somebody else does something
  2. I do something
  3. the other one does something


They tested the model by trying to add a word in front of the verbs. If the word suited all the verbs in the group, the group must be right. The pupils added more verbs to the groups trying to think what can be done in the classroom.


One boy created another model by finding out that in group 1 all the verbs ended in a vowel which is correct in third person forms.


They used the models to find out verbs in singular form expressing the subject in a short fairy tail.


Task 2: Similar sorting task with added thinking by having one verb, which didn’t tell the subject in written language. This time the verbs were in plural form.


A new problem arose, some of the verbs were in past tense. The pupils noticed that. It led them sorting the verbs into two groups. The verb that didn’t express the subject was sorted by the pupils but led to a discussion about spoken and written language. (juostaan)


They got three groups in the end. The models were tested by adding more verbs into the groups.


The models were compared with English. (multi-screen?)


Juoksen.=I run.

Juokset.=You run.

Juoksee.=She runs.


Juoksemme.=We run.

Juoksette.=You run.

Juoksevat.=They run.


Task 3: Write a short dialogue where you are using at least three different singular verbs that tell the subject.



# Alexander Sokol 2010-12-03 12:40
Kirsi, thanks a lot for sharing. It's always interesting to find out things about a new language (Finnish, in my case :))

A few things I wanted to comment / ask about.

1. Did the pupils manage to come up to the three groups at once? You're saying that they had to do a lot of thinking, so I assume they also had some 'wrong' ideas, didn't they? If so, can you say a few words about what you did in this situation? How did you help them realise that the idea was 'wrong'?

2. Comparison with English is important. I am not sure though we can say that just the fact of comparing them means we've used the multi-screen model. The multi-screen model would assume that we're considering a system at different levels and at different periods of time. Here, I think, you could try to consider the vertical line of the multi-screen model and compare how one and the same function is expressed at a different level in Finnish and English. Meaning that the categories of the person and the number (if I understood correctly) are expressed by a morpheme in Finnish (this is one of the functions of a particular morpheme) while this is only partially true about English (just third person sing.).
# Kirsi Urmson 2011-01-30 11:45
Thank you for your question. The questions are a good way to get us reflecting on our tasks! When the pupils needed help,I asked them to place a same word in front of the verbs they had chosen in the same group. I had to come up with a "tool" in that situation. I hadn't thought about it before the lesson.It did help them.I didn't tell them it needed to be personal pronoun but that was the key to check whether the verbs belonged to the same group. I accepted groups about the meaning of the verbs as well. I accepted their groups if they could explain why it was formed and I feel like that that is how I'm working with other tasks as well. I don't want to point out they are wrong. When we discuss their outcomes together the right ideas always seem to win!
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